Differences Between Pneumatic & Hydraulic Torque Wrenches

Differences Between Pneumatic & Hydraulic Torque Wrenches

January 5, 2022

A good craftsman never blames their tools—but doing so is easy when you work with a manual torque wrench. Workers have two available options for their wrenching needs. This article covers the differences between pneumatic and hydraulic torque wrenches.


Both of these fantastic tools are very accurate—but hydraulic wrenches are better when you’re looking for precision. Hydraulic torque wrenches have a three percent error margin with a one percent repeatable torque. In contrast, the margin of error of a pneumatic torque wrench is five percent and has a repeatable torque of two percent.


Comparing tempo between these two tools results in a one-to-one tie. Pneumatic torque wrenches are speedier than hydraulic wrenches, and a standard one-inch pneumatic torque can reach upwards of ten RPM. Compared to that, a hydraulic wrench is considerably slower at only one RPM. Thus, whether you select a pneumatic or hydraulic torque wrench depends on the project. Is the margin of error worth the speed of the pneumatic torque wrench? Or would you rather go slow and steady and use a hydraulic one instead?


A hydraulic torque wrench weighs less than ten pounds. However, that doesn’t reflect the pump that accompanies it, which can add upwards of 60-65 pounds. This makes it heavier than the 25-pound pneumatic wrench. Additionally, a hydraulic torque wrench is also smaller.


Hydraulic wrenches are easier to use compared to a traditional torque wrench. However, the pneumatic tool is superior when comparing the two. A consensus amongst workers is they prefer the pneumatic version because it’s not as challenging to use.


The pneumatic wrench is a fraction of the price of the hydraulic wrench because it doesn’t need a pump to operate. The pump adds at least 30 percent more to the final cost for your investment. Therefore, the fiscally responsible decision is the pneumatic wrench.

The pneumatic torque wrench is the superior option; it has a four-to-one victory in the differences between pneumatic and hydraulic torque wrenches. Although they have their advantages, a specific job might require you to use a hydraulic wrench, so you’re better off having both at the shop.

SEC Industrial has what you need. Check out our store inventory and find a torque wrench that checks all your boxes!

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